Two Silver Stars awarded to Soldiers after fierce battle in Afghan mountains
April 3, 2009
By Lori Egan
- Three Soldiers received medals for gallantry in action during the Battle of Wanat, July 13, while deployed to Afghanistan
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Three Soldiers received medals here, March 30, for valor and gallantry in action during the Battle of Wanat, July 13, 2008, while deployed to Afghanistan.
Capt. Matthew Myer and Sgt. Michael Denton received Silver Stars and Sgt. 1st Class David Dzwik received a Bronze Star with "V" device from Fort Benning's Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero.
During the Battle of Wanat, nine Soldiers with C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, died and 27 were wounded when an estimated 200 insurgents attacked a vehicle patrol base near the village of Wanat in the Hindu Kush Mountains near the Pakistan border.
The platoon-sized element withstood a coordinated enemy assault of rocket-propelled grenades and effective small arms fire from numerous concealed fighting positions for more than four hours, according to the narrative of Myer's Silver Star award.
Col. Bill Ostlund, the 75th Ranger Regiment's deputy commander, commanded the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry during the unit's 15-month deployment.
He told the crowd gathered for the award ceremony how the Soldiers lived in a very rugged, austere, underdeveloped and contested mountainous region where they gained and maintained freedom of movement in an area that had never seen government agents or Afghan security forces; how they bettered the lot of nearly 1 million Afghan people.
"Many talk about being in the company of heroes," Ostlund said. "Today, we truly are in their company."
Myer's Silver Star citation reads: Myer's perseverance under fire and leadership in the face of mortal danger saved the day when almost all had been lost. Myer's valorous actions, enabling the defeat of a numerically superior enemy force, are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and the United States Army.
According to Myer's narrative, his "steadfast leadership and calm direction of battle singularly enabled the battalion to bring the full force of all available enablers to bear on the determined enemy formation, allowing the outnumbered group of American paratroopers to decisively defeat a much larger enemy force." ... "At the decisive moment of battle, Myer unflinchingly ordered the audacious reinforcement of the OP, and then exposed himself to the same risk his Soldiers faced in order to continue effectively leading the successful defense of his position."
Denton's Silver Star citation reads: While serving as a grenadier ... Denton's perseverance under fire and bravery in the face of mortal danger saved the day when almost all had been lost. Denton's valorous actions, enabling the defeat of numerically superior enemy force, are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and the United States Army.
According to Dzwik's Bronze Star Medal with V device narrative, Dzwik directly engaged the enemy with his personal weapon while also directing indirect fire.
Dzwik led reinforcements to a beleaguered coalition force observation post and then ensured that several casualties were evacuated. Dzwik's tremendous courage, tactical and technical skills, high level of dedication and commitment to excellence were unmatched when he contributed toward overcoming an intense enemy attack.